Warren Ranch's December 2016 Prescribed Burn
On December 1st and 2nd a thick cloud of smoke rose above the Katy Prairie. Low winds left the plumes hanging over head for hours, and many passers by may have wondered just why there were flames rising from the Warren Ranch. For those who are unfamiliar with the practice of prescribed burns, here are some details about why they are so important to life on the prairie.
The use of prescribed fire is a conscious decision to use nature to combat nature. According to Tallgrass Restoration, LLC, "Prescribed burning is used for a variety of reasons. One of the most notable contained burning benefits is to maintain the health of an existing natural area containing native plants. The fire helps manage weeds and other growth and thus helps to reduce the risk of wildfires, but it also can help restore nutrients and help lead to more desirable plant growth in the future. Woodlands, prairies, and wetlands are perfect natural communities for contained fires."
All prescribed burns come with thorough fire plans which account for safety of the local wildlife and nearby landowners. The entire host of invasive plants that encroach land can be treated on a large scale in a single day. For the Warren Ranch, the ability to impact hundreds to thousands of acres in a single event is one of the most effective land management tools available. The harder the fire wrecks the weeds, brush, and woody plants, the better the grass responds. No other resource has a bigger impact on your ranching operation, water improvement, or brush control than the turf of grass. Fire uses grass as the fine fuel to clear the brush, and at same time stimulates even more grass growth.
As the ranch is continuously burned the pastures will become tamer, and the coming spring should see vast growth and flourishing grasses. For more information on prescribed burns you can read this comprehensive guide created by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Departments here.
Thank you to our prescribed burn fire partner Brian Treadwell from Conservation Fire Team.